Happy New Year!

Hello!

Welcome to 2017! How’s it treating you so far? I am off to a flying start. I have made lists by the shed-load and the post-it notes have proliferated, but I am happy with that. This feeling is probably something to do with having had a good, lazy holiday break with lots of movie-watching and naps. I did have a tiny tantrum yesterday just before I accepted that Christmas was really over and Ben really was going to go back to work and I had to get up at 6am AGAIN!?>! but then I set the alarm and got on with it.

Which brings me to the first order of service for the new year: last year’s EastLondonKnit knit-along. It is officially over, but just in case you have knit an EastLondonKnit design and would like a chance to win one of the fabulous prize packages…



If you would like to win of these lovely packages, please post your finished EastLondonKnit project over on the thread in the ELK Ravelry group. I will choose 2 prize winners at the end of this week.

So, let’s talk about resolutions!

If you know me, you know that I love a New Year’s Resolution. Honestly, I am not restricted to New Years to make my resolutions–I make them regularly throughout the year with unnecessary zeal, but I have a real soft spot for the beginning of January. This year,¬†in addition to the usual promises to self: more exercise, less sugar, no booze this January, I also wanted to add some different things: find somewhere to regularly volunteer, don’t be angry about the world, do things to make it better, and something completely unrelated: learn to play the guitar, because, well, why not?

I know that I should have started with the musical things a lifetime ago, but I’m one of those people who thinks it is never too late. If I start now, in 10 years I might be pretty good. If I don’t start now, in 10 years, I’ll just be 10 years older and still not playing any instruments.

And until I figure out where to volunteer (suggestions welcome!!), I am going to knit some hats and things for KnitAid. If you haven’t heard of KnitAid, please do have a look. They are making a big collection on 20th January if you would like to participate too!!

Do you make resolutions? If so, do you keep them?

Happy knitting!

Rx

 

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Introducing: the Lakelet Shawl

Hello!

This week I published the Lakelet Shawl!

Lakelet knitting pattern by Renée Callahan

Last year I attended the famous Squam Art Workshops for the first time and I had an amazing time. I was so excited to be there that I was up early every day and saw some of the most spectacular sunrises I have ever witnessed sitting on the dock.

Squam lake by Renée Callahan

It was a technicolour experience, with the pinks, blues and yellows really racing across the sky.

Squam lake by Renée Callahan

The experience inspired the Lakelet shawl. Lakelet is an asymmetrical triangular shawl that begins in one corner with just a few stitches and works across the body of the shawl to end with a beautiful bubbling of lace in a colour the shade of a cloud at sunrise.

Lakelet by Renée Callahan

The smallest size of the shawl uses 110g of the main colour and 25g of the contrast colour. Kits for the shawl featuring Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul yarn will be available soon. (Watch this space!)

Lakelet kits by Renée Callahan

 

In other news, Knitlandia by Clara Parkes¬†is now available as an audiobook and I am downloaded and ready to go! I attend a bookgroup in real life and I really love reading along with others, so I was wondering… would you enjoy a read-along? If so, join me over on the ELK Ravelry thread ūüôā

Upcoming events:

I will be teaching Brioche Basics and Next Steps in Brioche Stitch on Saturdays 25th and 9th July at the Yarn Dispensary in Faversham

and I will having a trunk show for the Zen Variations sweater collection as well as teaching a workshop on the top-down construction at the Village Haberdashery on Sunday 3rd July. Please do come and join in the learning!

30-31 July I will be assisting the lovely Linda of Kettle Yarn Co. on her stand at Fibre East in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

20th August, we will be together again at Purlescence for a trunk show and open day.

Finally, an early bird special: Lakelet is on sale for 15% off with the coupon code ELKLakelet until 16th June.

Happy knitting,

Renée

Twilight Flowers Sweater

Hello!

It is time to take a breath. Autumnal light and colour are¬†pouring in through the window and I feel like I am on the road to getting caught up after a couple of months of travel and excitement. I’m overjoyed (read: relieved) that the reception for my first collection of hand knits has been positive¬†and I have the feeling that I will finally catch up with myself and my to-do list now. What can I say, I am an eternal optimist:)

This week I begin a series of posts about the individual designs from the Klee Collection to explain a little about the inspiration behind each one and what makes it special to me. First up: the Twilight Flowers sweater.

Twilight Flowers by Paul Klee

Klee painted Daemmer-Blueten–translated as Twilight Flowers (and occasionally Dusk Flowers)–just a few months before his death in 1940. I love¬†the flat, patterned¬†aspect of the simple geometric shapes and the pops of colour among the muted palette.

Twilight Flowers pullover by Renée Callahan

Twilight Flowers sweater is the first design I worked on¬†for this collection and, maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but it is also the first saddle shoulder sweater I have ever knit. I was able to use some beautiful¬†Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport yarn for the sweater, which makes for a springy, bouncing fabric. It isn’t the usual choice for lace stitches because the roundness of the merino closes in on lace eyelets, but the repetitive, simple shapes of the painting were leading me to simple, repetitive lace patterns, and I had to follow. ¬†The TUT yarn is in the Hemlock colourway, a rich, almost black,¬†green, like the darkest shapes in the painting. And for both the nature of the raw materials and the painting-inspiration, the lace stitch I used needed to be simple and easily¬†‘readable’.

After playing around with variations of eyelets and short-repeat lace patterns, I decided on an¬†the arrow-shaped (even tulip-shaped…mustache twirl…) lace for the sleeve¬†and the panel just fit into a saddle-sleeve construction beautifully, which was a good motivation to learn about a new construction technique.

Twilight Flowers shoulder detail

I needed some detail at the neck but the more complicated it got, the less I liked it. In the end, I wanted a pretty but not fussy solution, and a simple necklace of eyelets did the trick, with the tiny circles drawing attention toward the face.

twilight flowers by Renee Callahan

Twilight Flowers pullover by Renée Callahan

The result is a cosy, top-down seamless sweater that is easy to wear. You can buy the Twilight Flowers knitting pattern here, and the entire Klee Collection here. And since this is all new and shiny, I am celebrating by giving away copies of both the Twilight Flowers pullover and mitts. If you would like to win, please do the following:

  1. Follow elkrenee on Instagram,
  2.  Repost this image of the sweater, using the hashtag #twilightflowersknit, and tagging 2 friends.

I will randomly choose a winner from the hashtag group next Monday:)

Happy knitting,

R.

Curious Handmade Podcast!

Hello!

Recently I spent a lovely afternoon with Helen Stewart, of Curious Handmade fame. I met Helen some years ago, and have watched her flourish as a knitwear designer and podcaster over the years. I joined her to chat on the podcast about handmade wardrobes for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, inspiration and my first collection of knitwear patterns, the Klee Collection.

I finally worked up the nerve to listen to the podcast myself and after getting over the pain of hearing my recorded voice (it just makes you cringe¬†at first, doesn’t¬†it!? I can’t believe I sound like that), I think it went pretty well! Please do have a listen!
Curious Handmade podcast

Only 2 more days until the Klee Collection goes live!¬†The next two days are dedicated to the fine tuning of the patterns and photography. You can’t have to too many detail shots right? It would be wonderful if, when designs are published, you could give them a little love on Ravelry with a favorite or a comment! It would help me out so much! I am planning some amazing¬†knit alongs too:)

Finally, the Good Fortune Giveaway continues! Have a look at the original post and it would be great if you would come on over to the EastLondonKnit Ravelry group and share a story or just a positive comment. I will choose a winner from the thread on Thursday and there are some lovely incentives to play along!

Happy knitting,

R.

Vicarious Knitting

Hello!

My first collection is nearly finished and I am just starting to get that itch to cast on something new. Of course I can’t do that. I really must¬†finish all the things I started. So I thought I would knit vicariously until a mad scientist can equip me with another pair of knitting arms.

My first would-be project is a linen tee. I have been wanting to knit a linen tee for some years now. Somehow, I never get around to it. But every summer I am reminded of just how useful such a garment would be.

Coral knitting pattern by Helga Isager

I understand that linen can bias when knit. Coral by Helga Isager looks like it may solve that problem by creating different grain lines with increases and decreases. Or maybe that is not the issue at all, and the grain lines just look great. I think the sweetheart neck line on this is really flattering too.
Flex knitting pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier

I think Flex by Heidi Kirrmaier works in a similar way. I love the clean lines on this one. It looks like an instant staple of the wardrobe.

Sous Sous knitting pattern by Norah Gaughan

I have seen some gorgeous versions* of Sous Sous by Norah Gaughan which is a superb layering piece with all that extra ease; a perfect autumnal sweater.

Svalbard knitting patttern by Bristol Ivy

I have been meaning to knit something by Bristol Ivy for ages. I am pretty sure she is a knitting genius. Svalbard is in the queue because it is not only a Bristol classic, but is worked primarily in brioche stitch, which is the most awesome of all the knitting stitches named after foodstuffs.

windswept knitting pattern by tincanknits

Finally, on my ‘someday I am totally knitting this’ list is Windswept, a beautiful pullover by¬†tincanknits. Truth be told, I not only have this pattern, I actually bought yarn for the sweater and swatched for it. But honestly that is as far as I have got with it. I am a big fan of tincanknits and think they have a great pared-back design philosophy. So definitely someday….

Til then, happy knitting,

R.

*I’m looking (with envy) at you TheWoolKitchen!

 

5 KALs for Your Spring fever.

Hello!

One of my new year’s resolutions was about being more active¬†in the world-wide knitting community in general, and participation in a knit-along or two in particular. I have gotten off to a slow start with this one. In fact, I haven’t managed to join in a single KAL. Until now. I have finally found one. Well, in fact five; the one I am joining in, and the others I would love to do if I had the time….

So without further ado, here are 5 great KALs happening (mostly) right now:

1 The Knit British Hapalong

knit british hap-along

Knit British is a podcast by the lovely Louise, a Shetland-based knitter and British yarn enthusiast.

From the Knit British blog:

A hap is a square or triangular (half) shawl from Shetland, which has what is described as traditional Shetland construction, in that the centre is commonly knit first and the stitches are picked up to knit a lace border. Once an item of everyday wear in Shetland the shawl has had a bit of a resurgence thanks to designs by Kate Davies, Gudrun Johnson and Brooklyn Tweed. IF you search on Ravelry, there are a number of patterns to choose from ‚Äď some with the old shale border and some with different lace incorporated into the border.

The Hapalong is now in full swing and looking great. You can hear about it on the Knit British podcast, read about it in the blog and join in the Ravelry group.

2 Yarn in the City Not a KAL KAL

yarn in the city

Yarn in the City is the dynamic duo of Allison and Rachel, aka Stitchyalli and Porpoise; podcasters, yarny events organisers and general fibre fixers.

From the YitC Ravelry forum:

Hey folks –

If you‚Äôve been listening to the podcast you‚Äôll know that both Porpoise and I have been ‚Äúcold sheeping‚ÄĚ and are trying to knit from stash as much as possible this year.

We’d also both like to knit with some of the pretties we acquired at the first ever GLYC (and the second one, and the Bath Road Trip…) before the next one happens in September and wondered if any of you would like to do the same?

We‚Äôll keep it loose and extremely informal but would love the company if any of you want to join us! I‚Äôm sure we can rustle up some fun prizes too. ūüėČ

Take some time to dig your yarns out, flash your stash and figure out what you want to knit and we will (informally!) cast on February 1st and figure out the rest of the timing from there. ūüôā

The Not a KAL KAL is still going strong if you would like to join the fun.

3 Woolful monthly KAL

woolful

woolful knit along

Woolful is a podcast and blog by homesteader-in-the-making Ashley. ¬†I am totally¬†digging her podcast right now. ¬†Her enthusiasm for the fibre community shines from¬†under her laid-back delivery. It is all shiny and new–the podcast, the blog and the KALs, but it feels to me like something with the promise of a bright future. The KALs reflect a designer, yarn or subject that has been part of the podcast, and I like that it changes every month. This month it is Beau the Bunny, a pattern by Ashley herself. March’s pattern was the Moto Vest¬† by Shelli Westcott. I am already looking forward to May’s offering.

4 The Fringe Association’s Hatalong

Fringe Association knit and let knit

The Fringe Association is the blog belonging to¬†Karen of the Fringe Supply Co., an online shop for gorgeous notions. I don’t know how I managed to miss this for so long. I recently came across it and immediately decided to give up blogging so that I could just read and reblog the Fringe Association. It’s a work of art. I have since revised my ideas and realised that when my blog grows up, it aspires to be as cool and crafty as Fringe Association. Fan-girl geeking aside, Karen is hosting a series of hat knit alongs and I am playing too.

fringe association Audrey Hat

The first in the Hatalong series was Audrey by Jessie Roselyn, and the next well be announced shortly. I have done a little stash diving and come up with some hot pink aran yarn that is just the business.

5 And one for the road: the Knit Along Fanatics group on Ravelry.

KAL fanatics Raverly group

It has been said many times before, and should be said many times again, Ravelry is awesome.  And if you are looking for a KAL for May, have a look at this group; the KAL Fanatics have great forum threads full of knit- and crochet-alongs lead by specific designs and Ravelry groups.

Go forth and craft along with your people.

Happy knitting & participating,

R.